Injuries sustained by children who fall from a height as seen at an urban Kenyan hospital
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Topic: To determine the pattern of injuries in children who fall from a height. Introduction: Most injuries sustained by children who fall from a height are of the blunt type. Despite there being literature that characterises injuries in general, few studies have focused on fall-related injuries. Most of these studies are conducted in the primarily urban western countries. No such study has been conducted in Kenya, and the existing hospital records may not adequately reflect the full spectrum of these injuries. The aim of this study was to provide data on the type of injuries that children sustain when they fall from a height. Methodology: This was a prospective descriptive study of children aged 0-13 years who sustained injuries after falling from any height. It was conducted at a large urban hospital serving a large population (bed capacity of about 1,200). A statistically acceptable sample size of 80 was picked and all the injuries diagnosed were characterised. The outcome of the injuries was also investigated. The study took duration of 6 months, 14th Nov 2006- 30th May 2007, during which the sample size was fulfilled. Results: A total of 80 children were recruited into the study. Boys were 61 (76%) and girls 19(24%), with an age range 0-13 years. Most injuries occurred at home (78.75%) after falling from buildings (33.75%), and were of mild-to-moderate severity. 13.4% sustained haemorrhage, 16.5% sustained facial injuries, 25.2% sustained CNS injuries, 43.3% sustained various fractures, and 1.6% sustained abdominal trauma. The head and musculoskeletal systems were the most likely regions to be injured. No thoracic or pelvic fractures were recorded. Recovery was good in most instances. Conclusion: Most children who sustain injuries after a fall do so from falling from a building. They are most likely to sustain distal fractures and head injury than other types of injuries, mostly of mild-moderate severity.